31 Prospects in 31 Days: Manny Machado, #1

And so begins (a day late) my prospect profiles based on Baseball America’s rankings. Today I’m going to post the top two in order to catch myself up, so let’s start off with prospect number one, 2010 1st round draft pick Manny Machado.

First, let’s take a look at some scouting video Baseball America shot back in 2009 prior to the draft.

Machado is the first shortstop the Orioles have taken in the first round since 1974. Can you believe it? Back then, the O’s took Rich Dauer out of USC. Machado was the third pick overall in 2010 after Bryce Harper (Nationals) and Jameson Taillon (Pirates), and these three absolutely stood out from what was considered to be somewhat of a weak draft class. Machado’s $5.25 million signing bonus was topped by only five other high schoolers and only one other Oriole (Matt Wieters, of course). So basically, what we have here are some very large expectations for this kid.

In total in 2010, Machado had 36 pro at-bats. He struck out in only three of those. The bat’s there, at least – in his seven games in Aberdeen, he hit .345/.406/.448. Not too shabby for a kid, eh? He’s also been working with Mike Bordick on what BA calls the “nuances of shortstop,” which basically means fundamentals to those who don’t speak prospect-talk. BA notes that Machado is very willing to learn and picks up new fielding techniques with ease, a good trait in any baseball player, especially a middle infielder.

Of course, because of his five-tool potential, which he’ll grow into in due time (remember, he’s little still), he draws comparisons to Public Enemy Number One, Alex Rodriguez. That, however, is inevitable. Machado’s ceiling isn’t as high according to BA, but he should at least make the All-Star Game at some point in his career. He’s absolutely planned as the Orioles’ long-term solution at shortstop, a position that J.J. Hardy is holding down for the time being. Machado is projected to arrive on the scene in 2013, so you’ll have to wait a bit to see the kid take the field at Camden Yards.

Want to see him play this year? Skip on down to Delmarva, where he’ll be starting the season. Trust me, if he moves up in the system, I’ll let you know immediately.

(Check out Machado’s draft article here, complete with more video footage!)

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